Review: Sweet on You by Carla de Guzman


Title: Sweet on You: A Filipino Christmas romance
Author: Carla de Guzman
Genre/Themes: Contemporary Christmas romance
Release Date: 19 Oct 2020

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars


All’s fair in love and prank wars

For barista and cafĂ© owner Sari Tomas, Christmas means parols, family and no-holds-barred karaoke contests. This year, though, a new neighbor is throwing a wrench in all her best-laid plans. The baker next door—“some fancy boy from Manila”—might have cute buns, but when he tries to poach her customers with cheap coffee and cheaper tactics, the competition is officially on.

And Baker Boy better be ready, because Sari never loses.

Foodie extraordinaire Gabriel Capras wants to prove to his dad that his career choice doesn’t make him any less a man. The Laneways might not be Manila, but the close-knit community is the perfect spot to grow his bakery into a thriving business. He wasn’t expecting a gorgeous adversary in the barista next door, but flirting with her makes his heart race, and it’s not just the caffeine.

It’s winner takes all this Christmas. And more than one competitor might just lose their heart for the holidays. 


I have been a fan of the #romanceclass books (romances in English by Filipino authors) for some time now and I was excited to read a Christmas story set in the Philippines. This was a true holiday treat for the soul and it also made me want to try all the Philippines sweets described in this book. 

This is a funny, low-angst enemies-to-lovers romance, rather rivals of sorts, that get into some friendly competition with some pranks to the amusement to everyone in their neighbourhood. 

There is a strong feel of a close-knit community of people caring for each other. I loved reading about the Filipino food and Christmas traditions and it never felt too much. Despite all the deserts Gabriel makes, the story never felt too sweet. 

The family issues both Sari and Gabriel had to deal with made them real people to me. Neither of them was perfect, they both had fears and insecurities, moments of doubts and confusion. All this was happening while both of them were trying to build a successful career of doing the thing they loved the - baking for im, making the perfect coffee blends for her. 

We get to see a lot of meddling family and well meaning friends, and despite the love and care, there was also some family tension and past hurts. I appreciate that her mum's fatphobia got called out and that is dad's patriarchal views were examined and ultimately over-turned. 

The romance itself worked perfectly for me. It was both magical, based on strong chemistry between Sari and Gabriel and also real and tender. I liked how their intimacy developed slowly over time as they became more open with each other. His admiration for her, both her personality and her body, her learning to trust him, getting to see herself as worthy of his love and giving back that love ad support to him, it was a beautiful thing to read. 

In short, this a perfect holiday romance for me to. I highly recommend it as bit sunshine in dark times. 

CW: fatphobia, misogyny

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